30 September 2016

Open Doors launches emergency appeal for vital work in Aleppo and beyond

Stories from AleppoThe sun is in tears, watching over fighting saying "why war?"

Responding today to the crisis in Aleppo, the charity Open Doors is asking people to raise funds for emergency food and medicines and for trauma care for the families affected by the humanitarian crisis that continues and deepens inside Syria.

Lisa Pearce, Open Doors CEO said today: "The news from Aleppo is horrific, it is our duty to do everything we can to help the innocent people who are so affected by a situation beyond their control. We're asking for people to help us to help them. Working through our local partners we are still able to get aid into Aleppo."

Open Doors has been working in Syria since before the war started and providing emergency relief since the start of the crisis in 2012. Through Churches and partner organisations the charity already provides first response emergency aid to over 12,000 families and then helps them to create a sustainable future once the initial crisis needs have been met through long term housing support and training and micro loans to start a business.

Bombs falling on houses and people in deep tears and a limb being lost

"Unfortunately our local teams have had only funds for 1500 families this month, each family got a monthly food package but the need was much bigger than we could meet", one of the churches wrote in their report to Open Doors. When aid does reach those in need it transforms lives - one lady from Aleppo said "Your gift we received helped us to draw a smile on many faces, besides the sadness in Aleppo, many were happy to receive your gift."

Open Doors also provides trauma support for people affected by the conflict and trains Church leaders in trauma care so that they can work pro-actively in their communities. These drawings were done by children in a trauma workshop funded by Open Doors in Damascus this summer.

To make a donation go to www.opendoorsuk.org/syriacrisis

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Note to editors:

For more information or an interview, call the Open Doors press office on 01993 777346 mobile 07484 000 441

A rocket hitting a house and an armed car shooting people

Open Doors provides the support to families through the local churches. They know the local situation best. As in the first place Christian Internally displaced persons (IDPs) will ask for help to a pastor or priest. During the years of the Syrian crisis we have seen also many non-Christians approaching and being supported by the Church.

The churches have their own team of volunteers involved in the distribution of the food and other material. The teams usually first visit the family to see the situation and to register them. In some cities/villages the items are taken to the places where the families stay. In other places the families come to a distribution point, this could be a warehouse or even the church building, to receive their package.

The parcels are prepared by the local churches, when possible all material is bought locally. Every Church has its own frequency in distributing the food and the other items, in general this is done once a month.

UNHCR report there are approximately 6.5 million internally displaced people in Syria including 2.8 million children. The UNFPA United Nations Population Fund estimates 13.5 million displaced and vulnerable people are currently in need inside Syria. UNICEF estimates that half of the children in Syria do not currently attend school. According to UN figures, the population of Syria is estimated to be 18.5 million down from 22.8 million in 2013.

Syria is number 5. on the Open Doors World Watch List, which ranks the severity of persecution faced by Christians in 50 countries Open Doors is working through local partners and churches in Syria to provide crisis relief, trauma training, biblical training for church leaders, socio-economic development projects such as microloans for displaced people, and distributing Bibles and Christian literature.

Open Doors UK & Ireland is part of Open Doors International, a global NGO network which has supported and strengthened persecuted Christians for 60 years. Last year supporters in the UK and Ireland raised over £11.7 million to provide practical support to persecuted Christians such as food, medicines, trauma care, legal assistance, safe houses and schools, as well as spiritual support through Christian literature, training and resources, in over 60 countries.